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All Star Stravinsky


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I saw the Hallberg/Part 'Apollo'. Aside from having the necessary physical attributes the part calls for, his interpretation is a work in progress. I had the feeling he was physically drained during the performance. He never seemed to recover from the trauma of the birth. Veronica Part was a very playful Terpsichore; lots of smiles during her solo (morphing into Dvorevenko?) and also during the PDD. The walk to Olympus was without grandeur. Jeu de Cartes is a nice little romp; although I found the 'second deal' the weakest part of the work--too many uninteresting repetitions. Craig Salstein was a wonderfully wild Joker, and the talents of Gillian Murphy and Erica Cornejo were wasted in this work. (I wished they had revived Balanchine's version ) :huh: Sasha Radetsky was a sweet, heartbreaking Petrouchka; a lovely interpretation. ABT's 'Petrouchka' is a beautiful production and the Benois sets and costumes are a joy to see. I was disappointed in the handling of the 'Fair' scenes at the beginning and end of the ballet. There was a lack of movement; the people clung to the sides of the stage without moving about. At the end of the ballet, when the snow starts to fall, there was finally some exhilaration.

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I only watched Apollo yesterday at ABT's matinee and evening performances.

In the afternoon, Hallberg was a perfect beauty to look at, but he never quite took off the ground from being a magnificently handsome but puppy-ish Apollo. Veronika Part, as his primary muse, was gorgeous. However, as thin as Veronika is now, Hallberg also had some problems partnering her in the pas de deux which took away from the spirit of the piece.

In the evening, Acosta started out a bold powerhouse and grew into a fine, firey Apollo. He is completely the opposite of Hallberg's quietier Apollo. Acosta explodes with power, then matures into a God with refinement, maturity and sensitivity yet never losing his fire. Acosta's muses, Herrera, Wiles, and Riccetto were all excellent, dancing fully with strength and feminine polish. I was especially impressed with Riccetto who, although too short for this cast, danced better than I expected after seeing her looking pretty flat in other roles. Here, the choreography shows off so well Riccetto's long arms and legs, and lovely lines. Perhaps it's time ABT added a smaller cast of Apollo to show off their abundantly talented, shorter men and ladies.

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I felt that Hallberg showed clearly the initial tentativeness and struggle in the birth scene, and the realization of his godly powers at the end of the ballet, when the music demands it with a sort of clarion call. The evolution from one state to another was not made clear over the course of the ballet. Still, I liked the way the movement looked on him; he was not mannered or self-conscious. I liked his phrasing: in sequences of repeated movements he built the momentum higher with each pass, and then stopped on a dime to unfold into his poses. Maybe that's Apollo 101; I haven't seen very many. Anyway, we know he can act, so he'll get it. I don't want to rely too heavily on his own quoted words, but he has said that partnering has been his biggest challenge. I believe this was in the NY Sun profile recently? So partnering three ballerinas in such convoluted moves could well be the most intimidating and tiring part of the role.

Veronika Part should be a principal dancer. She has the stage presence to carry a ballet. She made the most of her long legs; raising them sky-high in developpes (over the top is right for this ballet, I think). I wasn't entirely sure what to make of the smiles. Finally I decided she was a bit gleeful that she was, for the moment, Apollo's mentor rather than his follower. She always seems to dance with the air of unfolding a mystery. Since she can be both playful and vulnerable, there are many roles I would like to see her dance: Nikiya, Medora, and, despite her height, Giselle.

I agree with atm711 on Jeu de Cartes. It's funny, but it's slapstick. Good sets, lighting and costumes added to the work. At each deal, dancers emerged from behind giant cards that were shuffled on and off. The backdrop was a woman's torso, clad in and Elizabethan-style brocade gown with ruff, hands poised to play. For his entrances, the Joker crept on from behind her outstretched hand. I think my favorite part was Craig Salstein in a tutu doing a Trock-like number—he nailed it. Erica Cornejo has a real instinct for comedy. It seems effortless with her. My fantasy casting for her is Swanilda in Coppelia. Gillian Murphy was very amusing also; I'm interested to see how she takes on Cinderella.

Petrouchka is better close up, since gesture is as crucial as dancing, and last year my seats were closer to the stage. I didn't notice the herding at the sides then that was evident yesterday. Radetsky always let emotion shine through rather than wasting all his focus emphasizing his puppet's body. Not that he wasn't convincing; he simply kept that element subordinate, so that the contrast between him and the utter superficiality of the other two puppets was quite marked. I thought the missing element was the magician's malice, which motivates and pervades the entire story. The flute solo associated with him gives me chills! Gary Chryst and Freddie Franklin were, in their own ways, much more evil last season. They had each embellished the role more than Kirk Peterson has so far.

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In the evening, Acosta started out a bold powerhouse and grew into a fine, firey Apollo. He is completely the opposite of Hallberg's quietier Apollo. Acosta explodes with power, then matures into a God with refinement, maturity and sensitivity yet never losing his fire. Acosta's muses, Herrera, Wiles, and Riccetto were all excellent dancing so fully with strength and feminine polish. I was especially impressed with Riccetto who, although too short for this cast, danced better than I expected after seeing her looking pretty flat in other roles. Here, the choreography shows off so well Riccetto's long arms and legs, and lovely lines. Perhaps it's time ABT added a smaller cast of Apollo to show off their abundantly talented, shorter men and ladies.

I went to the evening performance also. I was so struck with the pdd from opening night I wanted to see him the the full role. I can't add too much to sz's comments on his performance. Again, from Monday night,

I was impressed by Herrera's Terpsichore. She's not a dancer I usually follow but again after the opening night pdd, I wanted to see the whole performance. Perhaps there is a chemistry between Acosta and Herrera that focused her . But she was serene and assured; it seemed very logical that Apollo

gravitated to this muse.

Jeu de Cartes is very silly and seemed a bit overlong, but fun none the less. Bocca, in his pink costume, clown makeup and wig,

was a dynamo. He created a strong central presence to tie the three sections together. He had problems with his crown, it kept falling off his head , finally he threw it into the wings.

That was it for me, I have a bad cold so I bailed out after Jeu de Cartes.

Richard

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In the evening, Acosta started out a bold powerhouse and grew into a fine, firey Apollo. He is completely the opposite of Hallberg's quietier Apollo. Acosta explodes with power, then matures into a God with refinement, maturity and sensitivity yet never losing his fire. Acosta's muses, Herrera, Wiles, and Riccetto were all excellent dancing so fully with strength and feminine polish.

Agree "sz", but I was disappointed by the tepid response from the audience.

Might seem minor, but I think the dancers deserved better.

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In regards to Part's smiles, I remember her Terpsichore with the Kirov at the Met in 1999, when all the muses grinned and smiled. So perhaps that's how she was coached in St. Petersburg.

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I agree that Hallberg”s Apollo has room to grow, in time I’m sure he’ll show the transitions more clearly. Still, I thought it was an auspicious debut, already better than many current interpreters. I loved the sense of wonder he conveyed during his early interactions with the muses, his growing sense of his own power. And his line is so gorgeous, he shows the choreography really well. Some of his dances with the muses had a very archaic look, he emphasized the 2 dimensionality more than I’m used to seeing.

Let me say up front that I have a problem with ABT’s approach to the muses - with the exception of the Herrera/Wiles/Ricetto cast they are way too smiley/flirty/simpery for me. Since this is obvious with most of the casts I have to believe that they were coached this way, or at least not discouraged from it. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that she was morphing into Dvorovenko (or even Kent), Part was too effusive for my taste. However, if you could tear your eyes away from her beautiful smile & flirty eyes, her dancing was gorgeous. She has thinned down noticeably, but her dancing is still so plush & expansive. That first developee when they start the pdd is stunning. FYI, she was head to head with Wiles a lot in this and it seems to me that they are the same exact height, and at this point Part looks a little thinner than Wiles. I can see no reason anymore why she isn’t cast in all the ballerina roles & promoted to principal already. It is ridiculous that she is still kept at the soloist level...

I also caught the Carreno/Kent/Murphy/Ricetto cast on Friday night. I think Carreno is another dancer who’s perfectly suited to the role of Apollo, so it bothers me that I don’t think he’s particularly good at it. There’s nothing obviously wrong with his interpretation, I just don’t find it particularly engaging or revealing. I do love Murphy’s Polyhymnia, I wish she had been cast with Hallberg in place of Wiles, who danced in both Saturday performances and seemed a bit subdued.

Like Richard53dog, I was lured to the Saturday night Apollo by Acosta & Herrera’s pdd on opening night. Acosta showed much more of a wild man approach in the full length work. One moment in particular when he was driving the muses in the chariot he seemed almost intoxicated by power. His maturation process was learning to rein it in, and while I felt his characterization in the full length Apollo wasn’t quite as complete as his pdd I found it very satisfying and dramatically coherent. He was a charismatic and commanding god, and he showed the transitions very well. I liked Hererra so much, I think I have to say that she is my favorite ABT Terpischore.

Jeu de Cartes was fun, but it is definitely a novelty. One that I could see a few times, but nothing that’s going to draw me to the opera house. It’s so slapstick that this is one case where I think the broader interpretations are the best. In the Queen of Hearts on Friday night Irina finally found a role that suits her as well as Kitri. Bocca was the most over-the-top joker, but Salstein & Cornejo were great, too. Truly, all the casts did well in this - it lends itself to many interpretations.

Petrushka has really grown on me, I could barely tolerate it last season but I’ve stayed for it at all 3 performances this weekend, and I enjoyed each one. I was very lucky to get Freddy Franklin’s malevolent charlatan and Part’s glowing chief nursemaid twice (though Bystrova was also charming at the matinee). I think I’ve seen ABT’s complete roster of male principals in the title role, and am very surprised that I found Radetsky the most touching. He was the one that really brought the pathos out for me. I think beck_hen hit it on the head with her observation that Radetsky emphasized the emotion and the contrast between his humanity and the uncomprehending superficiality of the other puppets. He really etched all the details very finely. I felt Petrushka’s thought process and motivations much more clearly in his performance than in any of the others. I think it was a milestone performance for him.

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I have read about the muses' smiles and flirtatious affect in the Kirov APOLLO, and perhaps they were coached to do that. But, I am quite certain it did not originate with the Balanchine Trust repetiteur for the Kirov APOLLO, Francia Russell.

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In the evening, Acosta started out a bold powerhouse and grew into a fine, firey Apollo. Acosta explodes with power, then matures into a God with refinement, maturity and sensitivity yet never losing his fire. Acosta's muses, Herrera, Wiles, and Riccetto were all excellent dancing so fully with strength and feminine polish.

Agree "sz", but I was disappointed by the tepid response from the audience.

Might seem minor, but I think the dancers deserved better.

Yeah, I thought it was a stupendous performance and the audience reaction was, as you say "tepid"

Maybe a weekend audience was expecting something more virtuostic?

Richard

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Well, Apollo is a pretty virtuosic role, but I wonder if ABT has "trained" its audience to expect evenings full of coda tricks. :jawdrop:

Quite possibly.

I'm embarrassed to admit that the first time I went to NYCB, I thought Farrell and Martins were pretty good in Chaconne, but that it wasn't a very demanding ballet.

What a yutz!!!

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After the performance of Apollo, a lady I talked to, who I respect as a ballet fan, commented that there was not alot of jumps for Carlos to do! :o:):blink:

Never-the-less, he was magnificent! Whatever jumps he did, as usual, were gravity defying and/or devouring the stage. But, Acosta used his wonderfully muscled body and charisma to give us an Apollo, I think, for the ages. The definition and stretch in his body enables him to show how he progresses from a boy-god to one mature, regal, and serene. His rapport with his muses, esp. Paloma, was amazing! I think his partnering skills might be the most underappreciated aspect of his dancing! He is not particularly tall. But he seems to handle the taller ballerinas with care and aplomb.

I also loved how he used his arms and hands, just like a god would!!!!!

David Hallberg was better than I thought he would be, when he danced Apollo Sat. Mat. He will be a great Apollo, pretty soon!!! I love his line and "expressive" feet!

Apollo really calls for a virtuosity that is much more subtle. Apollo, even to this day, is so different from other ballets, because it requires very fast changes in direction, and at the same time is devilish in its precision. I call it a ballet for dancer who has the ability to have the distinct shape on the ground, Apollo just being born and doing the smaller quick jumps, then having to do some larger jumps as Apollo matures. But, you must come down and have the control to still change direction, and have the distinct shape at the same time! There are no real resting notes for the choreography for Apollo, once he starts dancing as the more mature god. :jawdrop:

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I saw both performances on Saturday. I enjoyed Jeu de Cartes and Petrouchka performances overall.

Jeu de Cartes is a fun little ballet. Craig Salstein was the Joker for the mat. Julio Bocca was for the eve. Salstein was great with the comedy and the dancing. Julio did do as many jumps, but he was still funny! The rest of the cast for both were fine to me.

Petrouchka has grown on me over the last 2 seasons. I appreciate it as a piece that brought new parameters or broke new ground in ballet. Both perfs. were excellent. Congratulations to Sasha Radetsky for his moving interpretation of the doomed puppet!! :blink::jawdrop: :hyper: :)

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I agree that Hallberg”s Apollo has room to grow, in time I’m sure he’ll show the transitions more clearly. Still, I thought it was an auspicious debut, already better than many current interpreters. I loved the sense of wonder he conveyed during his early interactions with the muses, his growing sense of his own power. And his line is so gorgeous, he shows the choreography really well. Some of his dances with the muses had a very archaic look, he emphasized the 2 dimensionality more than I’m used to seeing.

I won't see Hallberg's Apollo till Thursday, but from his account in the blog "The Winger", he was coached by Ib Anderson, and some of what you describe could have described Ib's performances. He also mentions the Robert Garis book titled Following Balanchine.

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I forgot to mention one strange thing that occurred to me about all of the ABT Apollos I just saw. One of my favorite moments is the starburst image and I don’t think they did it well. I was sitting in the side arms for all 3 performances so it could have been due to the seats, but I doubt it. I was on the right (odd numbered ) side the first 2 times and I know that’s not the best angle for a good view of the starburst but I sat on the left side for the last performance and the visual still didn’t cut it.

I have a center seat for Thursday so if they’re doing it properly I should be able to see the full effect. Did anyone else notice this, or was it just my angle that distorted the image?

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I was kind of wondering about that as well. The Friday night performance one was okay but the one on Saturday night seemed a little bit off to me. I was sitting in the center for both performances but I saw it from above, not directly.

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I won't see Hallberg's Apollo till Thursday, but from his account in the blog "The Winger", he was coached by Ib Anderson, and some of what you describe could have described Ib's performances. He also mentions the Robert Garis book titled Following Balanchine.
Thank you for that lead, drb. When I heard that Hallberg had been cast as Apollo, my first thought was to wonder if he'd be coached by Andersen. I know he trained originally in Arizona and that he returned a couple of years ago to partner Yen Li Cheng-Zhang in Theme and Variations during her retirement performance at Ballet Arizona.
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One of my favorite moments is the starburst image and I don’t think they did it well.

Did anyone else notice this, or was it just my angle that distorted the image?

Yes, and I wondered if anyone else noticed it. Part/Wiles/Arbrera were the muses and I saw it from row C center of the dress circle. They appeared to be on a slight diagonal and were not aligned properly behind each other---they showed too much of the bodies and not enough of the legs.

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One of my favorite moments is the starburst image and I don’t think they did it well.

Yes, and I wondered if anyone else noticed it. Part/Wiles/Arbrera were the muses and I saw it from row C center of the dress circle. They appeared to be on a slight diagonal and were not aligned properly behind each other---they showed too much of the bodies and not enough of the legs.

I noticed it too, but much more so with the Herrera/Wiles/Riccetto cast when the starburst is facing horizontally. Riccetto's 90 degree arabesque lined up perfectly with Herrera's 45 degree one, leaving two legs in the starburst air instead of three. I assumed that was only because Riccetto was much shorter than both Wiles and Herrera.

These ladies also didn't time the starburst well when facing the audience. It seemed to me another height issue, one spoke too small for a good balance.

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I have a center seat for Thursday so if they’re doing it properly I should be able to see the full effect. Did anyone else notice this, or was it just my angle that distorted the image?

I was in the Family Circle for Saturday night and that was head on. I too thought the profile starburst failed to come off correctly. I though Wiles was off but it was hard to tell.

Richard

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To me, it looked as if the women didn't want to get close enough to each other to pull it off right. I saw Sat. matinee - Abrerra looked a head and a half short than Part and Wiles. Maybe that had something to do with it.

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I forgot to mention one strange thing that occurred to me about all of the ABT Apollos I just saw. One of my favorite moments is the starburst image and I don’t think they did it well. I was sitting in the side arms for all 3 performances so it could have been due to the seats, but I doubt it. I was on the right (odd numbered ) side the first 2 times and I know that’s not the best angle for a good view of the starburst but I sat on the left side for the last performance and the visual still didn’t cut it.

I have a center seat for Thursday so if they’re doing it properly I should be able to see the full effect. Did anyone else notice this, or was it just my angle that distorted the image?

I was at both the Saturday matinee and evening performances of Apollo, and in neither performance did the starburst come off very well. I was on the right side for the matinee, but center for the evening performance, so I don't think it was solely an issue of the angle at least in the evening.

I also noticed the tepid reaction to the Stravinsky bill, and it was disappointing. Many of the audience members around me left after Apollo, especially at the matinee.

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I was at both the Saturday matinee and evening performances of Apollo, and in neither performance did the starburst come off very well. I was on the right side for the matinee, but center for the evening performance, so I don't think it was solely an issue of the angle at least in the evening.

I also attended on Saturday night. I agree with all of the beautiful descriptions of Acosta's Apollo (especially SZ's). However, re: the comments above, while I felt that everyone did superbly in their solos - the group dancing was in places tentative and looked underrehearsed. There were tiny glitches throughout. There were two new Apollos this season and the experienced Apollos were dancing with different Muses, so I think that everything will gel better in their second performances. It was Riccetto who spoiled the "starburst" effect by not getting her leg high enough on Saturday night. This is the kind of thing that can be fixed in rehearsals and probably will go off without a hitch on Wednesday when they repeat it.

As for "Jeu de Cartes" the piece is cleverly designed and has a witty conception. I am curious to know if Balanchine's original choreography has survived - I think the version in NYCB has different choreography by Peter Martins. Also, didn't John Selya choreograph a piece to this music at City Center about four or five years ago? Julio Bocca I cannot imagine bettered in the role of the Joker - he just exuded manic comic energy and bravado. Though I am sure Herman Cornejo danced it thrillingly and acted it charmingly on opening night (I didn't go), he could not at this point project as much personality and dominate the stage as Bocca did on Saturday. The piece needs star turns as it is rather flimsy. The second deal, the flush of diamonds was an interesting pas de six for five male soloists and the Joker. Interesting solos for all the men who included David Hallberg, Jesus Pastor, Sascha Radetsky, Eric Underwood and Craig Salstein. This is a nice moment but the bits with the women are just slapstick and I don't need to see the ballet a second time since I am unlikely to see Bocca matched in the pivotal role.

The "Petrouchka" on Saturday night was in general a fine performance. Angel Corella has a better line on the pathos of the Petrouchka doll than Bocca did last year (Bocca was manic, angry and mischievous). Angel was more of a sad sack who was doomed to bad luck which is more appropriate. The dancing, such as it is, was excellent. I was particularly impressed by the footwork of Erica Cornejo who had incredible strength and delicacy combined and acted very well as the Ballerina Doll. Roman Zhurbin strongly characterized the Moor and interacted well with his partners.

Since I saw "Petrouchka" and "Apollo" several times in the past with ABT and found "Jeu de Cartes" a once only experience, I will not attend a second "Stravinsky Triple Bill". I was hoping ABT would finally revive "Firebird" and that would have spiced up the bill considerably. I know that ABT had a version of the original Fokine that it last revived around 1993 with Susan Jaffe as the Firebird. I missed it but I believe the settings and costumes were from original designs. I also know that they were considering acquiring a Kudelka version. Hopefully, we may see that at City Center soon since ABT has recently gotten so much funding.

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to the best of my knowledge, except for the odd film clip - some of which are included in the 2-part balanchine pbs docu - there isn't much left of balanchine's ballet - variously called THE CARD PARTY, THE CARD GAME, POKER GAME). i don't think the invaluable interpeter's archive directed by nancy reynolds has addressed this 'lost' ballet - maybe amy would know.

in any case i have a few photos from the ballet russe staging. i'll post a groupring on ballet history for ref.

re: FIREBIRDs - abt's fokine staging used the goncharova designs which were not the originals - those were by golovine, and andris liepa's fokine stagings attempted to revive them.

the goncharova designs have lasted much longer on stage than the golovines.

then there was the (in)famous ballerina's costume by bakst (which figured in the golovine production) and predated all the red-tutu versions.

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